I leaned back in my desk. I had finished the article. The story was going to get out, and maybe some people would finally stop being the absolute worst when it came down to it. The people I wrote about didn’t choose to be in the situation they were in. About a million pro-birthers had protested the people that I wrote about, despite those people making it very clear that there shouldn’t be anger and blame over the situation.
I decided to look over the first paragraph before I went to bed, just one more time.
On August 28th, and Ohio school teacher was incredibly surprised to find that she was staring at herself in her classroom. Maria Brunner, 31, recognised herself at the age of sixteen within her classroom. The student, Jane Moldam, wasn’t exactly sure why Brunner wanted to see her after class on only the first day of school. However, once Brunner explained the situation to Moldam, they both were in shock. Brunner had accidently been cloned, and nobody knew about it.
It was a simple paragraph, sure, but it told exactly the story I needed it to. After that paragraph was when I was able to bring some new information.
“I was kind of terrified,” Brunner admitted, “because I didn’t ever remember going to a cloning facility. At first I thought I was just seeing things, but it became very apparent that I wasn’t after only a few seconds. I knew I needed to look into this.” Brunner did exactly that, with the help of Moldam and her parents. The duo discovered that Brunner had gone to donate blood many years prior, and that the blood that was supposed to be used for testing had accidently been taken to the cloning branch of the donation clinic, which collected blood for both cloning and donating. The vials for testing and for cloning are essentially identical, and so it was incredibly plausible that two bottles could get mixed up.
However, you may be wondering how Moldam’s parents didn’t realise that their daughter hadn’t been cloned. “We knew after only a couple of months that Jane hadn’t been cloned properly,” Mrs. Moldam informed me. “A mother’s instinct, you could call it.” However, the couple decided to keep the clone anyway. They decided that the cloning law deeming it illegal to try and be rid of clones for any reason should apply here as well, even if baby Moldam was not the clone the were supposed to receive.
So what did Brunner do with this knowledge? Well, she did what any good teacher should do: she accepted her student for what she is, and continues to teach her despite the circumstance. “Everybody has the right to an education,” Brunner elaborated. “I will teach Jane and any other clones who come into my classroom, no matter what.”
“I had no idea, honestly,” Jane confessed. “My parents didn’t ever really tell me that I was cloned wrong. I knew that I was a clone, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. It wasn’t until Miss Brunner showed me a photo of herself at sixteen that I became concerned. I had been bullied over being a clone before, and I didn’t want that to happen at a national level.”
I shook my head. I had already read over more than I had intended to. I needed to go to bed before I lost my mind again, nitpicking mistakes that don’t exist.
With that, I turned off the computer and stumbled away, into my bedroom and onto my bed. The article would release tomorrow, and hopefully people would decide to be a little more humane to clones.
I stepped into my grocery store, hoping I wouldn’t be confronted by anyone today. Usually, I’m not recognised by anyone as a writer, but some dick online decided that the world should know that I wrote the Brunner-Moldam article.
I crossed over to the baker section of the store. I was supposed to pick up a cake for my youngest sister’s birthday. She was turning 16, and she just wanted a small party with me, mom, and a couple of her friends. Mom put in me in charge of grabbing a cake.
“Hello, how may I help you?” One cook from behind the counter asked. Or is baker more accurate? I’ll go with clerk.
“Yeah, I need help picking out a cake for my sister. She’s going to be sixteen. She doesn’t want anything fancy,” I informed the clerk.
“Okay, got it. What kind of flavor would she like?” the clerk asked.
I thought for a moment. “Probably vanilla. And easy on the frosting, she’s not a huge fan of sugar.”
The clerk scribbled some notes, nodding. “Vanilla, light frosting. Yeah, I can do that. Anything you want written on the cake?”
“Um. Sure. Actually, no. I can’t think of anything good. If you can think of something witty, though, I’ll give you artistic liberty.” I shrugged at the clerk. I might be a writer, but this was different type of writing.
The clerk laughed anyway. “Yeah, sounds good to me. I’ll let you know if I do think of anything. I think this will ring in to about twenty-two dollars. Come over here, I’ll ring you up.” I did as the clerk said, and followed him over to a cash register.
Yet, as we walked by, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation. “You fake bitch! You have absolutely no right to tell me no!” I looked toward the sound. There was some old man with a raggedy and grey beard harassing a young worker at the store. She was probably just a little over twenty.
“When I tell you to do something, you do it, poppy-bitch!” He said. I cringed when he called her poppy. “One second, clerk, I’ll pay in just a moment,” I told him without looking away from the creep and the girl.
“Let’s just head over to the bathroom, and we’ll-” he said before I pulled his shoulder and twisted him around, facing away from the girl.
“Hey fuckface. Maybe you should rethink.” I gently informed the man.
He laughed. “You fucking dolls think you have rights?” He spat in my face. “Get the fuck out of my face,” he finished.
I grabbed his neck with my other hand. I held two fingers on his neck, on spots where I have scars. “Alright, asshole, you have one chance to re-fucking-think.”
He shook his head, and then tried to headbutt me. I pinched his neck, and he stopped his motion, attempting to catch his breath. He reached his hand up to pull me away. I tightened my grip.
“I warned you. Rethink.” His arms scratched at my own arms, and he was getting more desperate. I looked to the girl. “You okay?”
She nodded in response. “Go get a manager or something,” I told her. She nodded again and hopped away.
I loosened my grip on the man’s neck, so that he could breath. “Don’t do anything dumb,” I told him. He gasped for air, and staggered backward.
“You dirty fucking copies don’t belong in this world. It’s not the way God intended.” The man leaned against the wall, and coughed again.
“Shut up. I’m going to have you dealt with, then I’m leaving,” I informed him.
“You aren’t going anywhere, you pansy-ass. I’m going to have you arrested for assaulting me.”
“Okay, sure. I have two witnesses that you’re lying, one is the girl you were harassing, and the other is the clerk and the stand.” This geezer was delusional if he thought I was going to get arrested, just for being a clone. That’s against the law.
“Oh, good, the manager has arrived. Finally.” I turned back to the old man, who was still wheezing.
“This man was harassing the girl who brought you over here. I stepped in to intervene, and he spit in my face. To keep him from potentially attacking me, I grabbed his neck and held him in place. I let him go once the girl left,” I informed the manager. “Police should be involved.”
“Okay, I’ll handle this, sir. You can leave this to me,” The manager smiled and waved me off. I didn’t trust him.
“I’ll leave once the police are called. This man was sexually harassing another person, and calling her by slurs. One of your employees, no less.”
“Of course, sir,” the manager said. “I’ll have this handled immediately. Please, just continue your shopping.”
“You aren’t going to take any action against this man. You have no plans on doing anything besides letting him go. You’re a real bastard, too,” I told the manager. He frowned when I said that.
“I’m sorry you feel that way but-”
“Shut the hell up. I have more important places to be.” With that, I walked away. I was going to find that girl and make sure she was okay.
“Hey,” I heard from behind me. I turned around, and the girl was catching up to me. “Thanks for helping me back there. I wish I had just called the police instead of getting that manager.”
“You’re fine,” I told her. “I didn’t think the manager would be clonemisic as well.” I started to walk again, and the girl followed beside me.
“So you’re a clone, too?” She asked.
“I am,” I replied. “But I would have helped you either way. That man was just being an asshole.”
“I should get a new job,” She said. “I’m sick of people treating me poorly around here.”
“This happens often?” I asked.
“Not that specific thing, but if I do something someone doesn’t like, they’re quick to call me a doll, or a poppy. Sometimes people just outright refuse to let me help them, when they see my scars. I’ve thought about getting them removed, but… I’m sure you’ve seen the news.”
“I have,” I replied. “I don’t get them removed for a different reasons. Being a clone is part of my identity, and I refuse to just let people walk all over that. I still managed to carve out a life, so I’m satisfied.”
“Good for you,” she said. “I only wish it was that easy for me.”
“It wasn’t easy for me, don’t get me wrong. When I was your age, I had to deal with the same shit. Hell, I have to deal with the shit anyway. It’ll get better, kid.” I was hoping that would inspire her or something.
“You’re right. It will get better, and it’ll start with this!” Suddenly, she took her apron off and threw it onto the ground. “Now I’ll go do something else. I have enough money to last me a few months, at least.”
“You’ve wanted to do that for a long time now, haven’t you?” I asked. I started to lead us to walking out of the store. I would buy the cake elsewhere.
“Maybe. I’m glad I did it, though.”
“So what now?” I asked.
“I’ll probably just search for a new job. One where I hopefully don’t have to interact with anymore clone-racists.” She shrugged, and kept walking with me. Shortly after, we stepped outside.
“It was nice talking to you, but I’ll have to go,” I told her.
“My name is Amanda,” she informed me.
“I’m Allen. Actually,” I fumbled around in my pockets, and found one of my small business cards, “Here’s my card. I’m a writer, for various sources. This might make for a good story one day.”
“Thanks, Allen. I’ll be going now, too. Stay safe,” Amanda said as she walked away from me.
I got into my car, and drove out of the parking lot. It was time to try a new store.
Cake in hand, I knocked on the door. My sister opened it. “Happy birthday, Sarah. I’ve got your cake,” I told her.
“Sweet, just bring it into the kitchen,” She replied. I did as such, and found Mom hanging around the kitchen too.
“Hey, Mom. What’s up?” I asked. She shrugged. “I was just waiting for you, honestly. Sarah is chatting with her friends. How did your article go?”
“I think it was a good article. It was published this morning. I haven’t looked at my feedback yet, though. The only thing I know is that some asshole doxxed me, so I was getting phone calls all morning.” I sat at the table, in a chair across from her.
“Excuse me, doxxed?” She asked.
“Someone found out my personal information and leaked it online. Phone number, email address, even my regular address. I should be getting a few letters in a couple of weeks. It’s a bother, but it should pass. It’s actually not the first time I’ve been doxxed.”
“You have to be kidding me,” She replied. “Someone leaked your home address and you aren’t worried?”
I shook my head. “Doxxers just try and use it as a scare tactic. No one is actually going to show up to my door, but I’ll have some angry folks trying to shout at me before that passes too.”
Mom sighed. “You worry me sick. What happens when someone does show up to your doorstep?”
“I’ll either call the police or beat them off of it. That’s the risk of being a high profile writer sometimes.”
“I can’t believe you’re just so calm about this. I would be losing my mind.”
“Then it’s probably a good thing you aren’t online very often. A lot of people get doxxed, even by fans who are just in way over their heads. It sucks, but you either get passed it or move houses.”
At that point, Sarah came into the kitchen. “I read your article,” She said.
“What did you think?” I asked.
“It was a good article. Honestly, though, I can kind of understand why people would be so terrified of that. Imagine, a second you walking around without you knowing,” She said.
“Well, Maria didn’t have to imagine that. She lived it. The point of the article is that you don’t need to be afraid of clones, because clones are still people. That idea of a copy of you running around is scary to them, too, because that means that they might be hated by someone else who they are a duplicate of.”
“Oh. Right. I must have missed the point.”
“Or my last paragraph,” I said, before laughing. Sarah laughed too.
“Well, it is a scary possibility. I don’t know. I know that you’re a clone, and that I’m not afraid of you, but so much of it just seems… I don’t know.”
I patted her shoulder. “It’s okay to ask those sort of questions. Being a clone is kind of a nightmare, especially since we’re rather uncommon.”
“Yeah, there’s only one biostruct for every one-thousand bionats. I learned that in my health course two years ago.”
“Well, it’s a pretty accurate fact. Kudos to that teacher.”
“He didn’t teach it. I read it in the book. He tried to brush past clones as quickly as possible.”
“Of course. I take back my kudos.”
“Either way. I think it was a good article. I’m going to go now,” My sister informed me.
At home that night, I was finally ready to see what people had been saying about that article. I booted up my computer, and typed in the title of the article.
The first thing that came up was my article, along with a few other news sites basically restating everything that I had stated. I changed up the search terms, and looked up “teacher student clone.”
Again, my article was at the top. Lucky me, people might actually be reading my article before any other articles and getting the facts there first. However, just below, were articles from sites that I knew to dread. They were alt-right sites denouncing my work as the work of some devil.
With wonderful titles such as “Cloned teacher discovers mistake student” to “Recent clone events make it very clear that cloning is unethical and needs to be stopped,” My article was being slammed by anyone who distrusted any aspect of cloning.
“I’m going to have to clear my history after this bullshit.”
I clicked an article, and glanced through it. It summarised the events of my article, cherry picked some quotes, then claimed that Jane was a blight upon the earth who didn’t need to exist, and that cloning should be stopped.
Worse yet was the comment section. Filled with bionats patting themselves on the back for hating clones, and all of them feeding each other terrible lies. They would tell each other that if they didn’t take back their basically everything, clones would replace all of them.
It was a rabbit hole, with dozens of sites either subtly denouncing clones, or very loudly denouncing clones. Even sites that usually have a liberal bias showed their reserve on the subject, essentially ignoring everything that Jane and Maria were saying!
I rubbed my temples. This was going to give me a headache.
I closed all of the browsers and leaned back in my chair. What was it going to take to get these folks to stop being clonemisic?
“I should just go to bed. I don’t know why I do this to myself all the time.”
As if out of wretched timing, my phone rang. It was probably someone calling to let me know that I’m the worst for writing an article sympathetic to clones. Either way, I picked up.
“Hello, Allen speaking.”
“Um, Hi. This is Amanda. The girl from the store a couple days ago? Sorry if I’m calling at a bad time, I just-”
“You’re fine,” I said. “Thanks for calling.”
“Okay, good. I wanted to tell you about my experiences as a clone. It might be helpful.”